Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Vacation

     Before summer rolled around, Jonathan had been learning about seasons.  He knew that summer meant "hot!" -- Especially in AL!  He was thrilled to learn that it meant we'd take a break from our school schedule.  At first, though, I had been leaving that fact out of the definition of "summer" when he and I had talked about it.  Because both of our "ESL" students were behind in academics, I'd considered continuing on in "summer school" with them.  In fact, I did  keep on going with Ally Kate to give her an extra push with learning English as well as math.  But, when the rest of us finished our year and I was so worn out with the anemia issues, I just didn't have it in me to keep up with lesson plans for Jonathan.  I also had hopes that taking a break might help with the struggles he was having with me as a mom.  For the summer, I could stop being the teacher (which he really did not like), and hope for a better attitude toward me when I could just be MOM.

    So, we took our summer break, and even started planning for a real vacation as well.  Jonathan had never gone farther than an hour away from our house...  mainly due to his getting car sick so badly.  Last year, Dan had used all his vacation time on our 2 trips to Bulgaria, so we had not had any type of family vacation in 2 years.  We ended up going to Missouri where Dan had spent 14 of his growing up years.

    Before we left, we started telling Jonathan about "vacations."  When it was all said and done, he decided that vacations were a GREAT invention!!  The biggest miracle was that he didn't even get car sick on the entire twelve hour trip of our first day.  Amazing!  And, great memories!!

    The place we stayed was a wonderful, family environment.  We joined Dan's brother and family who had gone up a couple of days in advance, and Dan's parents came the same day we arrived.  In addition to being right on the lake, there was a place by a creek that had been made into an incredibly fun play area.  The rope swing was the greatest!!

First, you climbed up into this tree:

Then, you grabbed the rope, hung on, ......

...and jumped, swinging across the little creek!!

Even I got into it!!

Or, if you weren't feeling quite daring enough for the tree,
 you could just get someone to help you on a different rope from the ground level.
Here, Rachel is helping her cousin:

And, she, in turn, helps Leslie!

The kids had LOTS of fun with their cousins!!

In the same play area, there were these huge swings....

..... and this really cool rope "web" to climb on, or --
as Dan is doing here -- relax in!!

One day, we went to a nearby state park, which had ruins from a castle.  The castle wasn't ancient, or anything -- maybe just 100 years old or so, but the area was beautiful and the hiking was fun.

Here's a picture of our family at the top -- BEFORE we got really hot and sweaty hiking to the bottom of the ravine and back!!

Justin and Jonathan with their cousins:

This next shot is from half-way down the ravine looking back across at the castle ruins.

Here we are at the bottom before starting the hike back up.

Another day, we went to a small, local water park.
  Jonathan had a blast on the water slide.

We never got a good shot of his face coming off the slide, but he was full of smiles!!

Another highlight of the trip was fishing in the lake. 
This is one of Dan's favorite memories of growing up, as well. 
Here he is with Justin and our nephew heading out into deeper water:

Dan's brother, Grandma, and the 2 youngest girls:

Justin, Dan, Sarah and Jonathan:

That day, while the others were fishing on the lake,
 Rachel, Anna and I took a canoe across the cove to another area that had a trail to explore:

Of course, lots of swimming was going on at the lake, too.
There was a rope swing, there, as well, so the best part for the kids
was getting to swing over the lake and jump in.

By the end of the time, we all agreed
that vacations are a wonderful invention!! :)

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